Are you looking for the best transportation options for your horse that won’t break the bank? Whether you’re planning to transport your horse internationally for a big show or a relocation, transporting horses is a huge responsibility, and it can cost you a considerable amount. It has a significant financial impact on you as an owner, especially if you have to ship your horse overseas.
So much does transport for a horse cost? Transportation costs for horses will vary significantly based on the destination location, mode of shipping, and other factors like pre-flight tests and additional services. However, on average, hiring a licensed equine transport company will cost around $0.75/mile to $3/mile, while bringing your horse overseas by air will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 or more for a one-way flight.
But what is the most cost-effective mode of transportation for your horses, and how much would you ensure that your horse will arrive safely? We’d love to help you find the answer in this article, so let’s dive right in.
How To Transport Horses
There are four ways to transport a horse, and each of these methods cost differently and has different advantages and drawbacks. Listed below are the most common ways to ship a horse.
Four Horse Transportation Choices:
Traveling via Airplane
If you need to transport your horse overseas, the easiest and fastest way to do it is by traveling via airplane. Therefore, you have to work with companies specializing in equine transportation. A one-way international flight can cost you around $2,000 to $10,000, but you can expect to pay more or less depending on your destination.
Horses travel through special cargo planes, and they are usually placed inside a stall. There are no stewards or flight attendants on a cargo plane; therefore, you need to prepare food for yourself and your horse. You also need to keep your horse hydrated and feed them little but often during the long flight.
Transporting by Boat
If you can’t ship your horse through an airplane for some reason, traveling by sea can be an alternative. Before horses are transported via plane, boats have long been utilized to ship horses. However, just like other animals, a horse can suffer from seasickness due to uncertain and changing sea conditions. And it can be more severe for horses due to their inability to vomit, leading to colic.
On top of that, transporting horses via boat can take a long time, and there are potential delays before you’d be allowed to board the ship.
Traveling by Road
Since traveling by boat isn’t the best option, you can opt to transport your horse by road instead. It’s a better choice, especially if you won’t need to cross an expanse of water to bring your horse to another country. Equine transportation companies typically charge $0.75/mile to $3/mile, and there are additional fees for layovers and extra care services for your four-legged companion.
Transporting via Rail
Another efficient way to transport horses is via rail. Unlike traveling by road or sea where the horse won’t be able to sleep and suffer from seasickness. Research has shown that horses will be more likely to suffer from motion sickness when traveling by road than rail because the speed and direction of a railway is more progressive. This way, horses can have a nap, and they won’t have to rebalance themselves while traveling.
DIY Horse Transport
If you have the means, budget and need to transport your horse often, investing in a horse trailer can be the most cost-effective option. It might cost around $50,000 or more, but it will help you save more in the long-run. So, it will be worth the investment, especially if you have to travel with your horses several times a year.
Average Cost of Transporting a Horse Internationally
Bringing your horse overseas via air can be more complicated than it may seem. You would have to consider the fees for pre-flight bloodwork and testing and mandatory quarantine period. The cost of transporting horses by airplanes can be costly, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 for just a one-way trip, depending on the destination locations and additional fees for some tiers of care and comfort during the flight. This is by far the most common mode of transportation for equines because it is a quicker and more comfortable option to transport your horse abroad.
The Process of Shipping a Horse Overseas
Transporting a horse overseas involves various processes, and each stage will cost you a considerable amount. Here’s a quick guide into the process that will help you figure out the cost.
Before the exportation, horses need to be transported to a USDA-approved facility and isolated for 30 days, and it can cost you around $1,000 to $3,000.
Vaccinations and bloodwork
Exporting a horse requires additional bloodwork because it has to undergo a Coggins test to check if it has Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) antibodies. It should be done by a USDA-approved veterinarian and costs approximately $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the horse’s age, gender, and other health issues.
Before boarding on the flight, your horse will be transported to the airport, and it has to undergo an additional 5-hour quarantine. The cost will vary significantly depending on the distance from the isolation facility to the airport.
During the flight, you are required to load your horse into an approved and inspected container, which you can rent for about $1,500. It would be best if you also got an attendant for your horse because it cannot travel alone. The shipping cost can range from $3,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on your chosen airline and the destination.
So that’s what your horse has to go through before it gets exported across other countries. But as we mentioned above, it should be done correctly to avoid adverse effects on the horse’s health. Consider the following tips to ensure your horse will arrive safely.
3 Tips for a Safe Horse Transport
Here are several practical tips to ensure that your horse will arrive safe and sound to your destination and eliminate potential discomfort.
Make Preparations Before Transportation
You can make long-distance travel less stressful for you, your horse, and the individual in charge of transportation by preparing your horse. If it’s the first time for your horse to travel, you can help it by training it to familiarize it and load it into the trailer. You can also make the transportation go smoothly by teaching the horse the basic commands in transport.
Plan and Arrange Layovers During the Transport
Your horse might suffer from stiffness and stress during a long journey, so it would best to give your horse a breaks to it stretch and take a nap. It can help your horse stay happy and healthy during transport.
Allow for a Recovery Period
Just as humans need to relax after a long trip, horses need time to recover and relax because transportation can be quite stressful even if your horse is used to it. It’s essential, especially if your horse will be competing. So, you must plan for recovery to keep them healthy and happy.